Among younger people I've observed, there has been a single force which has weaseled its way into the mainstream thus only to become more prevalent as the years have gone by. Dyed black hair. Lip rings. Side swept bangs. Heavy gender neutral eye liner. Self portraits taken from obscure angles. You know the type. That so called force or 'movement', if you will, is of course, Emo.
I first heard of this word when I was in high school, back in the late 90's. I of course didn't hear it IN school, because those were still the days when any alternative kid was simply labeled 'Skater'. Not long before that, said youth could also be referred to as a 'Banger'. (didn't you just love the 90's?) So for reasons unknown, I associated the word Emo with the Buddy Holly wannabe's. You know, the geek chic, earth tone and argyle clad folks who I now know to be 'Indie'. My knowledge of the matter, or lack thereof, derived from just having no point of reference. When people talked about it, I just smiled and nodded, not really knowing what it was. I later on just kind of forgot about the word all together.
Once my baby sisters became teenagers and I began attending college and working at my job with kids who were younger than my cat, I suddenly began spending a lot of time with the younger crowd. And then that weird Emo word came back. When I saw people who were branded with the Emo name, I thought it meant the same as someone who was Gothic. Then my hip (and younger) boyfriend explained that Emo simply meant Emotional Punk, which mainly describes a type of music that mutated from a cheap imitation of punk rock with lyrics as inspirational as an angry thirteen year old's poetry. Unless you're a robot, you have emotions, so what makes Emo so special? Is it mean that i find the whole "woe is me" bit just a little pretentious?
Within every social scene are distinctive physical characteristics, and even, dare I say, a uniform. But with the Emo thing, it seems to only be about the look and nothing more. Emo hair alone has become an entity unto itself. Also, it brings a selfish tone to a generation who appears unable to pass beyond their own little prison cells they've made for themselves. Is it just me or does this fad just completely lack any and all substance, more so than others?
Or could this trend just also be the new generation of "Skaters"? Where I grew up, anyone who didn't listen to country or rap, just got clumped into one big Freak category. The so called Moral Majority were far too simple to recognize the big, BIG differences between the kids who god forbid identified with anything else. The punks, metal kids, skaters, goths, stoners, hippies, indie and ska kids were all the same. So does this mean that Emo is the new "everything else"?
Perhaps I'm over analyzing this Emo concept because, afterall, teenage apathy is nothing new, and always will be a part of life. Today is no different than the grunge era marked by self pity and indifference. Tight black pants are the new ripped blue jeans. Hoodies are the new flannel. Just as flannel was the new something else, and so on. As long as we keep making babies, teen angst will continue to rear it's progressively uglier and uglier head in new and seemingly unpredicted ways. So I can rest assured that like all fads, this one will die too.